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Game Preview: Baylor versus the Buffalo Bulls

You thought Ohio State was tough! The Bulls are about to face an even tougher task Saturday when they take on #23 Baylor in the Texas heat.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The entire offseason, almost anyone affiliated with Buffalo Bulls football had one game circled on their calendars.

What game you may ask? Pretty obviously...week one versus Ohio State.

But in doing so, an opponent of equal talent and ability has been overlooked.

That team of course would be the 23rd ranked Baylor Bears.

Once a laughing stock in the Big-12, Baylor has turned into Big-12 contenders, sporting an 18-8 record the past two years.

The Bears enter their contest with Buffalo 1-0 after throttling Wofford 69-3 in their opener.

Baylor knows how to score a lot and quickly.

The past two years, the Bears have ranked in the Top-25 nationally in both rushing and passing while totaling 42 touchdown drives of two minutes or less in 2012.

"They play fast, as fast as anybody we'll play this year" Quinn said during his weekly press conference Tuesday "They get up to the line of scrimmage and within 14 to 15 seconds, they're snapping the ball again."

Starting at quarterback for Baylor is fourth-year junior Bryce Petty who finally leads the way after backing up both Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence the past three years.

Petty looked solid week one, throwing for 312 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears win.

Look for Petty to try and establish connections with Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley. The impact duo combined for 10 receptions, 187 yards, and two touchdowns week one versus Wofford.

When Baylor runs the ball, they have a two headed monster at running back led by Oregon transfer Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin.

Seastrunk ran for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns in his first season with the Bears last year while Martin ran for 889 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The Bulls will have to watch out for both of them out of the backfield as they both can score on any given play.

It’ll be a challenge for the Bulls to slow down Baylor’s offense. They’re fast, they spread the ball and have a plethora of weapons.

The defensive side of the ball is a different story for the Bears. While displaying some solid talent, Baylor didn’t perform well in 2012, allowing 40+ points six times.

With that said, a few players caught the eye of Jeff Quinn while prepping for the Bears.

Quinn was particularly impressed with Baylor's starting defensive ends, seniors Terrance Lloyd and Chris McAllister.

McAllister had a sack in the Bears victory over Wofford and has 9.5 for his career. Both himself and Lloyd will attempt to give the Bulls strong offensive line problems on the outside.

Anchoring Baylor’s defense is middle linebacker Bryce Hager. The son of former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Britt Hager, Bryce has done well following in his father's footsteps on his way to being named preseason All Big-12.

Hager led the Big-12 in tackles in 2012 and will look to give Buffalo fits Saturday afternoon.

Last but not least, the Bulls will have to watch out for Ahmad Dixon in the Bears secondary. One of the best safeties in the country, Dixon is an impact player that has an NFL future in front of him.

For Buffalo to remain competitive Saturday, the Bulls will need to bring out a similar effort against Baylor as they did against Ohio State last week.

On paper, Baylor is just as talented as the Buckeyes despite their #23 ranking. The Bears are explosive, probably more so than Ohio State and will give Buffalo problems.

Buffalo’s best chance of staying competitive will come down to their offensive performance. While it’s generally advisable to run the ball and drain clock against more skilled teams, the Bulls best chance at scoring Saturday will come from a balanced attack.

Joe Licata showed that he could stay composed in a tough environment and produce. I expect more of the same on Saturday.

With weapons including Alex Neutz and Branden Oliver, moving the ball shouldn't be an issue. I truly expect Licata and the Bulls to put some points up on offense.

The only problem, I think it’ll be very tough for Buffalo to contain Baylor’s offense for an extended period of time.

Baylor is too explosive and will get their fair share of points. With that said, I don’t think the Bulls defense is poor. They’re just not talented enough to stop an offense as talented as the Bears.

Expect Buffalo to remain competitive early on before a Baylor surges away for a pretty easy victory in a very warm Floyd Casey Stadium.

Prediction: Baylor 42-21